What is the Best Medication for OCD?

What is the Best Medication for OCD?

While a combination of medication and therapy is often the most effective treatment for OCD, many people need both. The choice of which route to take depends on several factors, including the availability and cost of therapy, the approach of the clinician, and the type of medication used. Some medications can interfere with exposure and response prevention therapy.


Anafranil is a medication that is FDA approved for the treatment of intrusive thoughts and obsessions in people with OCD. The medication is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), which means that it inhibits the production of serotonin. It is one of the most commonly used and researched OCD medications.

Anafranil is taken by mouth and is approved for use in patients with OCD. It is safe for children and adults and effectively treats the disorder. However, it does have some side effects, such as tremors, headaches, and sleepiness. The drug is also known to cause weight gain. Anafranil is not a cure for OCD; it is essential to consult a doctor before beginning treatment.


Clomipramine, a type of antidepressant, was the first medication for OCD to show benefits in patients. It was approved by the FDA in 1989 and is one of the most potent serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It works by binding to receptors and reuptake sites in the brain. Although clomipramine has more side effects than SSRIs, many studies have shown that it is highly effective for treating OCD.

Clomipramine belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It helps people with OCD reduce unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviours. This drug is not a controlled substance and is most effective in treating pediatric patients. However, research has shown that it is not practical for long-term use in children under 10, and there are no long-term studies on its safety and effectiveness in adolescents. It is also used to treat depression and panic attacks.


Sertraline is a common antidepressant that is approved to treat people with OCD. It is effective for reducing the intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviours that are common in people with OCD. However, this medication is not without its side effects. For example, it can cause seizures and liver damage in some cases.

If you have been diagnosed with OCD, you should consult your physician to determine the best course of treatment. If you respond well to maintenance therapy, you can reduce your medication slowly. You should still have regular CBT booster sessions to help maintain your progress. However, it is essential to consult a physician before stopping your medication, as some people don't respond as well to it when they stop taking it. In such cases, it is necessary to lower the dosage gradually and wait two months before resuming the drug.


While most experts recommend CBT alone for treating OCD, some medications are necessary to alleviate symptoms. In such cases, SSRIs are often preferred over clomipramine. Patients with renal impairment or co-existing heart disease should avoid taking clomipramine.

Several studies have shown that SNRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) effectively treat refractory OCD. In a large study, venlafaxine had a 76% response rate in patients with refractory OCD. While uncontrolled case series have continued to support the effectiveness of SNRIs, a recent double-blind crossover study suggests that paroxetine may be a better treatment option.